Dexamethasone (By mouth)

Introduction

Dexamethasone (dex-a-METH-a-sone)

Treats symptoms of several diseases and conditions. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

Brand Name(s)

DexPak, DexPak 10 Day TaperPak, DexPak 13 Day TaperPak, DexPak 6 Day TaperPak, Dexamethasone Intensol

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Oral liquid: Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Missed dose:
    • If your schedule is one dose every other day and you cannot use the missed dose until late in the day, wait until the next morning to use your medicine. Then skip a day and go back to your regular schedule.
    • If your schedule is one dose every day, use the missed dose as soon as you can. Then go back to your regular schedule.
    • If your schedule is more than one dose every day, use the missed dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use two doses at that time. Then go back to your regular schedule.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some foods and medicines can affect how dexamethasone works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Aminoglutethimide, amphotericin B, carbamazepine, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, digoxin, indinavir, indomethacin, ketoconazole, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin, or thalidomide
    • Antibiotic (including azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin)
    • Birth control pills
    • Blood thinner (including warfarin)
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Insulin and other diabetes medicine
    • NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (including aspirin, celecoxib, diclofenac, naproxen)
    • Potassium supplement
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney problems, liver disease, diabetes, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye, allergies, myasthenia gravis, osteoporosis, stomach or bowel problems, or thyroid problems. Tell your doctor if you have congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or a recent heart attack. Tell your doctor if you have any type of infection or a history of depression or mental problems.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • High blood pressure, retaining water, changes in salt or potassium levels in your body
    • Cataracts or glaucoma (with long-term use)
    • Bone loss (with long-term use)
    • Mood or behavior changes
    • Slow growth in children (with long-term use)
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • This medicine could cause you to get infections more easily. Tell your doctor right away if you are exposed to chicken pox, measles, or any other serious infection. Tell your doctor if you had a serious infection in the past, such as tuberculosis.
  • Tell your doctor about any extra stress or anxiety in your life. Your dose might need to be changed for a short time.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Changes in vision, trouble seeing, eye pain
  • Dark freckles, skin changes, coldness, weakness, tiredness, weight loss
  • Depression, unusual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, trouble sleeping
  • Fast or slow, pounding heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or red or black stools
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble urinating
  • Worsened joint pain, swelling, or stiffness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Round, puffy face
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 10/12/2016

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